Chapter X: Merry Making

The day is Saturday, a part of which is given by many liberal masters to their slaves, the afternoon being spent as a holiday, or in vending such little marketable commodities as they might by chance possess.
As a token of gratitude, it is customary in many parts of the South for slaves to invite their masters to their entertainments. This evening presented such an occasion, on the premises of colonel Stephen Franks.
This day mammy Judy was extremely busy, for in addition to the responsibility of the culinary department, there was her calico habit to be done up—as she would not let Potter's Milly look any better than herself—and an old suit of the young master George's clothes had to be patched and darned a little before little Joe could favorably compare with Craig's Sooky's little Dick. And the cast off linen given to her husband for the occasion might require a ' little doing up.'
' Wat missus sen' dis shut heah wid de bres all full dis debilment an' nonsense fah ?' said mammy Judy, holding up the garment, looking at the ruffles; ' sho ! missus mus' be crack, sen' dis heah! Ole man ain' gwine sen' he soul to de ole boy puttin' on dis debilment !' and she hastened away with the shirt, stating to her mistress her religious objections. Mrs. Franks smiled as she took the garment, telling her that the objections could be easily removed by taking off the ruffles.
5' Dat look sumphen like !' remarked the old woman, when Ailcey handed her the shirt with the ruffles removed.
' Sen' dat debilment an' nonsense heah! sho!' and carrying it away smiling, she laid it upon the bed.
The feast of the evening was such as mammy Judy was capable of preparing when in her best humor, consisting of all the delicacies usually served up on the occasion of corn huskings in the grain growing region.
Conscious that he was not entitled to their gratitude, colonel Franks declined to honor the entertainment, though the invitation was a ruse to deceive him, as he had attempted to deceive them.
The evening brought with it much of life's variety, as may be seen among the slave population of the South. There were Potter's slaves, and the people of Mrs. Van Winter, also those of Major Craig, and Dr. Denny, all dressed neatly, and seemingly very happy.
10Ailcey was quite the pride of the evening, in an old gauze orange dress of her mistress, and felt that she deserved to be well thought of, as proving herself the friend of Henry, the son-in-law of daddy Joe and mammy Judy, the heads of the entertainment. Mammy Judy and Potter's Milly were both looking matronly in their calico gowns and towlinen aprons, and daddy oe was the honored and observed of the party, in an old black suit with an abundance of surplus.
' He'p yeh se'f chilen!' said mammy Judy, after the table had been blessed by daddy Joe ; ' Henry ain' gwine be heah, 'e gone to Woodville uh some whah dah, kick'n up 'e heel. Come chilen eat haughty, mo' whah dis come f om. He'p yeh se'f now do'n—'
' I is aun Judy; I likes dis heah kine a witals!' drawled out Potter's Nelse, reaching over for the fifth or 
sixth time ; ' dis am good shaut cake!'
' O mammy, look at Jilson!' exclaimed Ailcey, as a huge, rough field hand—who refused to go to the table with the company, but sat sulkily by himself in one corner—was just walking away, with two whole ' cakes' of bread under his arm.
15' Wat yeh gwine do wid dat bread Jilson?' enquired the old woman.
' I gwine eat it, dat wat I gwine do wid it! I ain' had no w'eat bread dis two hauvest!' he having come from Virginia, where such articles of food on harvest occasion were generally allowed the slave.
' Big hog, so 'e is!' rebukingly said Ailcey, when she saw that Jilson was determined in his purpose.
'Nebeh mine dat childen, plenty mo !' responded mammy Judy.
' Ole umin, dat chile in de way dah; de gals haudly tu'n roun,' suggested daddy Joe, on seeing the pallet of little Joe crowded upon as the girls were leaving the table, seating themselves around the room.
20' Ailcey my chile, jes' run up to de hut wid 'im, 'an lay 'im in de bed; ef yeh fuhd, Van Wintah' Ben go wid yeh ; ah knows 'e likes to go wid de gals,' said mammy Judy.
Taking up his hat with a bland smile, Ben obeyed orders without a demur.
The entertainment was held at the extreme end of a two acre lot in the old slave quarters, while the hut of mammy Judy was near the great house. Ailcey thought she espied a person retreat into the shrubbery, and startled as she went to the back door of the hut, but Ben hooted at the idea of any person out and about on such an occasion, except indeed it was Jilson with his bread. The child being carefully placed in bed, Ailcey and her protector were soon mingled with the merry slaves.
There were three persons generally quite prominent among the slaves of the neighborhood, missed on this occasion ; Frank's Charles, Denny's Sam,
and Potter's Andy ; Sam being confined to bed by sickness.
25' Ailcey, whah's Chaules—huccum 'e not heah ?' enquired mammy Judy.
' Endeed, I dun'o mammy.'
' Huccum Pottah's Andy ain' heah nuddah ?'
' Andy a' home to-night, aun' Judy, an' uh dun'o whah 'e is,' replied Winny.
' Gone head-long out yandah, arteh no good, uh dob reckon, an' Chaules 'e gone dah too,' replied the old woman.
30'Da ain' nothin' mattah wid dis crowd aun' Judy!' complimented Nelse as he sat beside Derba. At this expression mammy Judy gave a deep sigh,on the thought of her absent daughter.
' Come chilen !' suggested mammy Judy, ' yeh all eat mighty hauty, an' been mighty merry, an' 'joy yehse'f much ; we now sing praise to de Laud fah wat 'e done fah us,' raising a hymn in which all earnestly joined :
' Oh! Jesus, Jesus is my friend,
He'll be my helper to the end,' etc.
' Young folk yeh all bettah git ready now an' go, fo' de patrollas come out. Yeh all 'joy yeh se'f much, now time yeh gone. Hope yeh all sauv God Sunday. Ole man fo'de all gone, hab wud uh prah,' advised the old woman ; the following being sung in conclusion :
35' The Lord is here, and the Lord is all around us;
Canaan, Canaan's a very happy home—
O, glory ! O, glory ! O, glory ! God is here !'
when the gathering dispersed, the slaves going cheerfully to their homes.
' Come ole man, yeh got mautch ? light sum dem shavens dah, quick. Ah cab fine de chile heah on dis bed !' said mammy Judy, on entering the hut and feeling about in the dark for little Joe. ' Ailcey, wat yeh done wid de chile ?'
40' E's dah, mammy Judy, I lain 'im on de bed, ah spose 'e roll off.'
The shavings being lit, there was no child to be found.
' My Laud, ole man! whah's de chile? Wat dis mean ! O, whah's my po' chile gone; my po' baby !' exclaimed mammy Judy, wringing her hands in distress.
' Stay, ole 'umin! de tree ! de tree!' when going out in the dark, feeling the trunk of the willow, three notches in the bark were distinct to the touch.
' Ole 'umin!' exclaimed daddy Joe in a suppressed voice, hastening into the hut, ' it am he, it am Henry got 'im!'
45' Tang God, den my po' baby safe !' responded mammy Judy, when they raised their voices in praise of thankfulness :
' O, who's like Jesus.!
Hallelujah ! praise ye the Lord;
O, who's like Jesus !
Hallelujah ! love and serve the Lord!'
50Falling upon their knees, the old man offered an earnest, heartfelt prayer to God, asking his guardianship through the night, and protection through the day, especially upon their heart-broken daughter, their runaway son-in-law and little grand-son, when the two old people retired to rest with spirits mingled with joy, sorrow, hope and fear; Ailcey going into the great house.
To Chapter XI

Textual Notes

2gratitude, it] 59; gratitude for acts of generosity, it 61
2colonel] 59; Colonel 61
4shut heah] 59; shirt hear 61
4fah] 59; for 61
4;] 59; : 61
4heah!] 59; hear. ' 61
5!'] 59; ,' 61
6heah] 59; hear 61
7humor] 59; humour 61
8colonel] 59; Colonel 61
10oe] 59; Joe 61
10suit] 59; suit of his master, with 61
11He] 59; Hep 61
11p] 59; not in 61
11;] 59; : 61
11heah] 59; hear 61
11'e] 59; he 61
11uh] 59; or 61
11whah dah] 59; whar dar 61
11haughty] 59; harty 61
11whah] 59; whar 61
11f om] 59; from 61
11se'f] 59; yeh se'f, now 61
12heah kine] 59; hear kin 61
16w'eat] 59; weat 61
17'e] 59; he 61
18Nebeh] 59; Neveh 61
18childen] 59; chilen 61
19dah] 59; dar 61
19haudly tu'n] 59; hardly turn 61
20ef yeh fuhd] 59; of yeah feard 61
20Wintah] 59; Winteh 61
20ah] 59; I 61
22person] 59; person being out 61
22soon] 59; soon again mingled 61
24;] 59; , 61
25whah] 59; whar 61
25huccum 'e] 59; how cum he 61
25heah] 59; hear 61
26dun] 59; don 61
27Huccum Pottah] 59; How cum Potteh 61
27heah nuddah] 59; hear nudder 61
28uh dun] 59; I don 61
28whah] 59; whar 61
29yandah] 59; yondeh 61
29uh dob] 59; I don' 61
29dah] 59; dar 61
30Da] 59; De 61
30mattah] 59; matteh 61
31,] 59; ; 61
31hauty] 59; harty 61
31fah] 59; for 61
31fah] 59; for 61
32'] 59; not in 61
32,] 59; . 61
34folk] 59; folks 61
34bettah] 59; betteh 61
34patrollas] 59; patrolles 61
34sauv] 59; sarv 61
34all] 59; all 'gone, hab 61
34wud uh prah] 59; word ob prar 61
34;] 59; , 61
37!'] 59; ! 61
39man] 59; uman 61
39mautch] 59; match 61
39dah] 59; dar 61
39. Ah cab fine] 59; ! I can' fin 61
39heah] 59; hear 61
40dah] 59; dar 61
40,] 59; ; 61
40ah] 59; I 61
42whah] 59; whar 61
42!] 59; ? 61
42whah] 59; whar 61
44,] 59; ; 61
46.!] 59; ! 61
49!'] 59; ! 61
50runaway] 59; run-away 61
50grand-son] 59; grandson 61